Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Water Polo team nearly pulled off the upset of Pomona-Pitzer Saturday falling 14-13 on the road.
Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer swapped goals early with PP holding a slight 3-2 advantage with 3:27 to play in the first quarter. Teresa Marchetti (Messina, Italy) and Anastacia Gonzalez (Montebello, Calif.) ended the frame with back to back connections that gave WC a 4-3 lead. This momentum carried into the second with Roni Ramirez (La Habra, Calif.) and Jacqueline Au (Los Angeles, Calif.) going back to back to start things off moving the advantage to 6-3.
The Sagehens ended the run at the 5:06 mark to get within two but junior transfer Sawyer Bellville (Chino, Calif.) was able to stretch it back to three with an unassisted tally on Whittier's next possession. But over the ensuing two minutes it was all PP adding the next three goals, which included converting on a pair of power-plays that tied things up at 7-7.
With under a minute to play in the half Au was able to convert a 6-on-5 that gave WC an 8-7 lead at the half. Out of intermission Bellville struck again to push the lead back to two. Ramirez answered on a power-play two and a half minutes later that gave the Poets their 10th goal on the day, while they managed to cling to a one-goal lead.
Then over the final 8:00 minutes both teams combined for eight goals with PP holding the slight 5-3 advantage, which proved the difference. The Sagehens struck first to tie things up at 10-10. Bellville countered two possessions later and then found the back of the goal again at the 4:26 mark that put Whittier on top 12-11. But after that it was all Sagehens outscoring the Purple & Gold 3-1 over the final 4:05. Bellville was able to add her fifth goal of the game at the 3:36 mark that put WC on top 13-12 but it wouldn't hold as Anna Yu and Lucie Abele would go back to back that secured the win for PP.
Lauren Tapia (Whittier, Calif.) got the start and finished with four saves. Bellville led the offense finishing with five goals and an assist. She also added a steal. Gonzalez, Au, Marchetti, and Ramirez all added two goals apiece.
Whittier was outshot 31-26 but was 5-for-6 on power-plays.
Whittier plays at home this Wednesday, April 10 when they host Claremont-M-S beginning at 7:00pm. Playoff implications are on the line with this match-up.